China’s stone industry had poor exports in 2023 and its imports also declined

Exports 2023, broken down by continent and stone type.

The Secretary General of the China Stone Material Association (CSMA) speaks of a “a super-sized market in terms of demand“ in a lecture at the trade fair in Xiamen

SUN Weixing spoke of a “general downward trend in import and export trade“ during his presentation at the trade fair in Xiamen (March 16 – 19, 2024), as well as a “slowdown in economic growth“ and “a super-sized market in terms of demand.” Sun Weixing is the Secretary General of the China Stone Material Association (CSMA), and we are reproducing his presentation in detail in a separate report:

Here are the import and export statistics for the industry in 2023, as published by the association. Below some data on the Chinese stone industry from Sun Weixing’s presentation.

The export results were really bad: although there was a +6.0% increase in tonnage, this resulted in a (-)14.5% drop in revenue. As the table above shows, this applied to all target regions.

And also for all varieties, except granite.

Imports 2023, broken down by country of origin and type of stone.

At first glance, imports were slightly better for China’s stone industry: -9.55% was paid for -3.05% in terms of volume.

However, this is probably not a sign of a generally better negotiating position for buyers, but rather a reflection of the global situation: rumors of a crisis in the construction business were circulating in the global media, which is why buyers everywhere held back.

Examples of this: Turkey, also a major player in exports, closed 2023 at -7.63% by value – however, apparently as a catch-up effect, the first months of 2024 were high; Brazil also recorded a negative result of (-)13% in 2023, and Italy’s exports of finished and semi-finished products only came in at -4.5%.

Exports and imports 2023 by country.

Sun Weixing also provided figures on the Chinese economy as a whole during his presentation: its growth has “stabilized and rebounded“ and recently reached +5.2 % compared to the previous year.

In the real estate sector, the government had achieved stabilization, according to the association’s Secretary General: in 2023, the completed living space amounted to 998.31 million square meters, which corresponds to an increase of (+)17.0 % compared to the previous year.

The natural stone industry produced 820 million square meters of slabs, which corresponds to a decrease of (-)8.6% compared to the previous year.

Broken down by type, this amounted to 260 million square meters (-18.43 %) for marble and 560 million square meters (-3.2 %) for granite.

The industry counted 3,526 industrial enterprises above an annual revenue from principal business of over 20 million Yuan. Of these, 758 were active in the quarrying business and 2,768 in processing. Their number increased by 189 compared to the previous year.

Their total turnover amounted to RMB 274.91 billion (-8.9%). Their profit amounted to 21.06 billion RMB (-15.6 %).

614 of the companies made losses in 2023. This was an increase of 103 in the number of companies affected.

Demand for natural stone “continued to be weak,“ according to the Secretary General.

A market shakeout and a trend toward company concentration can currently be observed.

As far as exports are concerned, there is a focus on target countries closer to China. The countries of the Belt and Road play a special role.

China Stone Material Association (Chinese)

See also:

(13.05.2024, USA: 05.13.2024)